Financial investigators have not found any trace of the fabled twelve billion US dollars that controversial Bangladeshi businessman Moosa Bin Shamsher says is lying frozen in a Swiss bank account.
The Swiss National Bank has confirmed to the Bangladesh government that there is no accounts under the name of Moosa, who leads an extravagant life and is labelled by foreign media as a top global arms dealer.
The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) ran the trace of the humongous amount of money and the account, said M Aslam Alam, secretary to the government’s Bank and Financial Institutions Division.
In November last year, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) decided to run an inquiry into Moosa’s wealth after a Business Asia cover story reported in June that he had $7bn frozen in a Swiss bank account.
Interestingly, the wealth statement he submitted to the ACC showed that he had substantially more in frozen state in the Swiss bank – $12bn to be specific.
Moosa had earlier said in public that if recovered, he wished to spend the money, equivalent to well over Tk92,000 crore, to finance the Padma bridge project and for the welfare of government employees.
He also claimed during an ACC inquiry in December last year that he had earned all the money abroad and so there was no question of laundering. He also said that it was not possible to earn that much in Bangladesh.
Originally from Faridpur district, Moosa began his career in 1974 by founding manpower export venture Datco Group. However, over the years, he has come to be known in foreign media as a top arms dealer of the world.
The Swiss National Bank has yet to respond to a BFIU query whether his wife and children have accounts in Switzerland.
The BFIU and ACC have found that Moosa owns just about eight acres of land in Gazipur and several houses in Dhaka’s posh neighbourhoods Gulshan and Banani.
His wealth statement also shows that his family owns jewelleries worth $90m, most of which he claims has been received as gift.
In 1998, the Sunday Telegraph Magazine published a feature titled “Man with the Golden Guns” terming Moosa “Prince of Bangladesh.”
Reporter Nigel Farndale visited him at his Dhaka office of Datco and concluded: “Prince Moosa, the multi billionaire from Bangladesh, bathes in rose water, wears diamond encrusted shoes and doesn’t like to talk about the offer of 5 million pound sterling he once made to Tony Blair.”
In 2007, he made headlines in Bangladesh by expressing intents to buy the state-owned Rupali Bank at $250m.
The ACC, who says Moosa is now living a retired life, is still continuing an investigation into his hyperbolic wealth.